Care UK residents flock together for RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
Over 40 Care UK care homes across the UK are gearing up to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch this January, which also marks the 40th anniversary of the event.
Residents have their binoculars at the ready and are preparing to participate in the annual wildlife survey, which will be taking place from Saturday 26th January until Monday 28th January.
As well as watching and counting the birds, Residents at around 50 Care UK homes are looking forward to a range of avian-related activities celebrating our feathered friends.
In preparation for the national birdwatch, residents at Whitebourne in Frimley have been learning about British birds and making home-made fat balls to feed them.
Mountbatten Grange residents in Windsor will be visited by the Feathers and Fur Falconry Centre, giving everyone the opportunity to learn all about birds of prey and meet them up close.
Field Lodge, in St Ives, will be joined by a representative from the Huntingdonshire RSPB, who will give a presentation on garden birds, including how to identify and attract them. Resident will also have the opportunity to meet a host of birds of prey from the Raptors Foundation.
Meanwhile, residents at Sandfields in Cheltenham are looking forward to a visit from a local Rainbows group to observe the wildlife in the home’s garden, while residents at Highmarket House, in Banbury, will be joined by the Banbury Ornithological Society for an informative talk on local wildlife.
Spending time outside and connecting with nature has great benefits for both physical and mental wellbeing, which is important for older people, and particularly for those living with dementia.
Highmarket House home manager, Julia Joy, explained why the home is one of the many Care UK care homes taking part in this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch: “The annual event provides a great opportunity to get outside and connect with nature – something which has many therapeutic benefits, especially for those living with dementia.
“Birdwatching is an accessible activity that people of all ages and abilities can enjoy together, whether its spending time in the garden topping up the bird feeders, or taking the sounds and sights in from the comfort of an armchair – no matter the weather it’s a great, inclusive activity for all!
“What’s more, the sensory stimulation of the colourful sights and beautiful sounds of the garden can often be a great reminiscence activity, and bring memories from many years ago to the surface. It can be a fantastic way to prompt a conversation and encourage intergenerational exchanges between older people and their children or grandchildren.”
Residents at Heather View in Crowborough will be joined by local school children for an informative talk with David Loweth from the RSPB, followed by craft activities.
In Edinburgh, Cairdean House are looking forward to a visit from the Scottish Owl Centre, who will be bringing a variety of owls, while Lauder Lodge will be welcoming local scouts into the home for activities around the theme of British birds.
Over in Woking, the team at Kinglseigh has organised a host of bird-themed activities, including a bird-themed scavenger hunt, bird watching in the conservatory, and a visit from birds of prey group, Reminiscence. The home will also be joined by an art therapy group, Creative Minds, which will be hosting a bird-themed art session.
Many of the activities are open to local people so do check your local Care UK home’s website to find out if you can join the feathery fun.
2019 marks the 40th anniversary of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch event, which encourages people nationwide to count the birds in their gardens to allow the charity to monitor trends and understand how different species are doing. Data from over half a million people is then compared year-on-year to provide a ‘snapshot’ of bird numbers across the UK. For more information please visit rspb.org.uk